According to most studies, the attention span of humans are constantly decreasing and hence loading speed for any digital content is increasingly getting critical for the user engagement and overall user satisfaction. For any website, this easily translates into the demand of optimum performance and loading speed. This is why a slow website is mostly left by the majority of users before it finishes loading. Most leading Custom WordPress development services give priority to the performance and speed more than the features.
A recent study by StrangeLoop shows that just a mere 1-second delay in the loading speed across leading websites such as Amazon, Google, and several others can lead to a 7% decrease in business conversion. So, you can’t just get away with slow performance without suffering the backlash in low engagement and a drop in business conversion.
When it comes to your WordPress website, you can easily boost the loading speed and performance with some simple measures. Let us explain a few of them here below.
First Know the Reasons of Underperformance
To begin with, you need to analyse the key reasons responsible for the slow speed and performance glitches of your WordPress website. Before you hire WordPress developers to get into the details of performance issues, make a basic review on your own. Without going into much deeper technical details, the key reasons for slow performance are the following.
- A poorly configured web hosting or the chosen servers located far away from the target audience can cause slow performance.
- Absence of a caching mechanism or poor configuration of your WordPress site for performance is another common reason.
- Larger page footprint with non-optimised images can slow down the performance.
- Bad plugins that are coded with multiple errors or plugins not optimised for smooth performance can also slow down a website.
- Loads of external scripts like the integrated ads, font loafers and others can also be responsible.
Use a Good WordPress Caching Plugin
Since WordPress pages are created just by putting different elements together only when a visitor opens a page, the dynamic nature at times can slow down the pace. This is where a caching plugin can come to rescue and help loading the page instantly by accessing the cached page elements as soon as a visitor lands on the website.
Caching also helps loading a page instantly even when the internet speed is slow just because the cached elements are saved locally and can be accessed for creating the dynamic page display as soon as a user navigates to the link. The copy of the cached page loads first followed by other pages that keeps loading in the background. This boosts the user experience as users don’t need to wait for even a second for the web page to open.
Choose Hosting that Comes with Nginx
It is the WordPress hosting that plays a crucial role for ensuring optimum page loading speed and performance. The hosting provider depends upon a web server for your WordPress site. Commonly Nginx and Apache web servers are used by most hosting service providers.
Most experts recommend hosting providers with Nginx to ensure optimum performance and loading speed. The Nginx web server is preferred as it is better in performance than other web servers as several benchmark tests for high volume of users have already proved. Many of the leading companies around the world use Nginx web servers including Google, Microsoft, IBM, Adobe, and several others.
Make Sure You have HTTP/2
HTTP/2 is the latest web protocol which came with the sole objective of boosting the performance of websites. To work the protocol requires a n SSL server. If you have already moved to HTTPS, this would be a great feature to speed up your website even more.
The performance boost by using HTTP/2 protocol is made possible because of an array of features such as multiplexing, the ALPN extension, parallelism, HPACK compression , etc. A major benefit of the protocol is that for WordPress no longer the obsolete optimisation measures like domain sharding is required.
Make Sure the Server Location is Close to Your Audience
First of all, you must evaluate the target audience location globally and should find out where most of your website users are generating. Once you know this, you should make sure that servers provided by the hosting providers are located close to where your target audience lives.
Network latency or the delay involved in the transmission of web data from the server to the users is well known as a major factor responsible for performance slowdown. This network latency can easily be avoided and the performance of the WordPress website can easily get a boost by having servers close to the location of your target audience.
Optimize the Visual Assets
Visual assets such as images and graphics are often responsible for lowering the pace of your website and even slowing down loading speed. On the other hand, you cannot avoid using coloured high-quality images as they often enhance readability and user engagement of a website. The only credible alternative is to optimise these images to reduce their size or footprint for faster loading speed.
To optimise an image in your WordPress website always use an image editing software tool. There are many effective tools for image optimisation and resizing are out there. Most of them reduce the image file sizes from two times to five times. Now when it comes to formats, choose both JPEG and PNG. While the first one is compressed and hence smaller in size, the latter is uncompressed and hence consequently is bigger in size. For images with a lot of colours it is ideal to choose JPEG and for simple monochrome photos, you can choose PNG.
Must have Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Since the location of your web hosting servers can have a serious impact on your website speed and performance, you need to do something to ensure good speed for all the visitors staying further away from the server location. The ideal measure that can be helpful in this regard is using a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
Use High-performance Theme
The look and feel of a WordPress website is mainly created by the chosen theme. Though WordPress offers a multitude of choices in this regard, not all themes are equally optimised for faster loading pace. Some themes can actually slow down the website totally.
It is advisable to go for a simple theme that can be loaded instantly. You can always add features and functionalities to your WordPress website later with plugins. Make sure you evaluate themes to make a decision that you don’t regret quite soon.
Use High-performance WordPress Plugins
The entire feature set and functionalities of any WordPress website is mainly shaped by the plugins representing various features and specific user experience attributes. Now, some plugins because of poor development can actually make a negative impact on website performance.
This is why it is advisable to use plugins after evaluating their performance. Always go to the WordPress plugin development company’s page and social media page to know about the impact it has for other users. Apart from reviewing, you can always check out the underlying code structure on your own.
When it comes to performance optimisation of your existing WordPress website, these measures are quite successful and time-honored. Apart from all these, choosing a good hosting service provider and optimising the backend is also recommended.